Justices Freeman, Thomas, Kilbride, Karmeier, Burke, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.
CHIEF JUSTICE GARMAN
¶ 1 Following a jury trial in the circuit court of Cook County, defendant, Keith Pikes, was convicted of one count of first degree murder and sentenced to 27 years in prison. The appellate court reversed his conviction and remanded for a new trial, concluding that the trial court erred in admitting evidence concerning a prior crime committed by defendant's codefendant, Lamont Donegan, in which defendant was not involved. 2012 IL App (1st) 102274. This court granted the State's petition for leave to appeal. Ill. S.Ct. R. 315 (eff. Feb. 26, 2010).
¶ 2 BACKGROUND
¶ 3 Defendant and Donegan were tried simultaneously before separate juries. They were both charged with the murder of Lorne Mosley, who was killed in a drive-by shooting on August 21, 2006. Prior to trial, the State sought admission of evidence that defendant and Donegan were members of the Four Corner Hustlers gang, which was involved in a conflict with the Gangster Disciples. The State also sought admission of evidence of a prior incident between Donegan and members of the Gangster Disciples (referred to herein as the scooter shooting). In that incident, which occurred a day or so prior to Mosley's murder, Quentez Robinson, a member of the Gangster Disciples, rode a scooter through Four Corner Hustlers territory, followed by other Gangster Disciples in a car. Donegan began shooting at Robinson, who rode off unharmed. The driver of the car struck Donegan, who later allegedly recruited defendant to assist him in exacting revenge for the incident. Defendant and Donegan allegedly made statements indicating their intention to seek revenge for the prior incident. In moving for admission of this evidence, the State reasoned that the earlier incident involving Donegan was related to the shooting of Mosley, thus providing an explanation for it. The State also argued that the prior incident provided evidence of defendant's and Donegan's joint motive and intent. The State also sought admission of certain co-conspirator statements made by Donegan prior to and immediately following the Mosley shooting. The trial court granted the State's motions over defendant's objection. As to the motion to admit evidence of the scooter shooting, the trial court found the evidence to be relevant, more probative than prejudicial, and necessary to allow the jury to understand the context in which the Mosley shooting occurred.
¶ 4 The facts are not in dispute. Relevant to the issue in this appeal, the evidence showed that in August 2006, a feud began between the Gangster Disciples and the Four Corner Hustlers over the shooting by a Gangster Disciples member of Victor Parsons, who was a member of the Four Corner Hustlers. The feud involved the gangs shooting at each other. Robinson testified concerning the scooter shooting. On August 19, 2006, he was riding a scooter in Four Corner Hustlers territory. A car containing other Gangster Disciples was following him. Donegan ran into the street and began shooting at Robinson. The car then struck Donegan. Robinson did not report the incident to police.
¶ 5 Herbert Lemon, a member of the Gangster Disciples, testified that his gang and the Four Corner Hustlers were enemies and that they had been fighting and shooting at each other. He was in the car that was following Robinson on the scooter when Donegan shot at Robinson. The driver drove the car at Donegan, struck him, and drove away. Lemon was also present the following evening when Mosley was shot. He was in a group that included Robinson when he observed a car drive toward them. Defendant and Donegan were in the car. They began shooting at the group.
¶ 6 Brandon Merkson testified that there was an ongoing feud between the Gangster Disciples and the Four Corner Hustlers. Merkson was present at both the scooter shooting and the Mosley shooting. Regarding the scooter shooting, Merkson was in the car that struck Donegan after he shot at Robinson. At trial, Merkson denied telling the police that Donegan was the person who shot at Robinson. Merkson's statement and his grand jury testimony were entered into evidence.
¶ 7 Vernard Crowder testified, denying that he, defendant, and Donegan were members of a street gang. He acknowledged testifying before the grand jury but asserted that he had done so only because the prosecutor agreed to drop a domestic battery charge against him. He denied all of his grand jury testimony. Two assistant State's Attorneys testified concerning Crowder's grand jury testimony and a statement he made to police. Crowder stated that on the day of the Mosley shooting, he saw defendant standing near a "greyish black, " older model Toyota car. Donegan was inside the car cleaning it. Defendant asked Crowder if he wanted to "go do business" on Corliss (a street that was in Gangster Disciples territory), which Crowder knew meant harming someone in the Gangster Disciples. Crowder declined because he was on probation. Defendant did not like this answer and reminded Crowder that "these are the same people that killed Victor." Later, Crowder heard gunshots coming from Corliss. A few days after the shooting, Crowder was with Donegan and DeAngelo Coleman. Donegan told Crowder that he could not get caught with the gun he had with him because "it had a body on Corliss." Crowder understood this to mean that Donegan had used the gun to kill Mosley.
¶ 8 DeAngelo Coleman testified, denying being a gang member or hearing anything about the Mosley shooting. He denied that there was any incident involving a scooter. An assistant State's Attorney published to the jury Coleman's statement to police. In the statement, Coleman acknowledged that he, Donegan, and defendant were members of the Four Corner Hustlers gang. Coleman stated that on the day of the scooter shooting incident, he heard gunshots. He ran outside and saw Donegan lying on the ground. Donegan told Coleman that he had just shot at Robinson who was on a scooter and that a car following Robinson had struck Donegan. The next day, Coleman was with defendant and Donegan. During the conversation, Donegan said that someone had to pay for the scooter incident and that he was going to kill a Gangster Disciple. Coleman heard defendant say that he would steal a car to use for the planned shooting on Corliss and that Donegan had a "jiggler" key that would fit older model Toyotas. The key would allow a user to operate the door locks and ignition of a car. Coleman later saw defendant driving a Toyota Camry. He saw defendant and Donegan cleaning out the car. Defendant and Donegan both had guns that they put in the car. They drove the car away. The day after the Mosley shooting, Coleman saw defendant and Donegan. Both men described how the shooting took place. Defendant said that he drove slowly down the block. When they saw a group of young men at the usual Gangster Disciples spot, Donegan fired his gun.
¶ 9 The trial court gave the jury Illinois Pattern Jury Instruction 3.14, which addresses proof of other offenses or conduct (Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions, Criminal, No. 3.14 (4th ed. 2000)). The instruction alerted the jury that evidence had been received that defendant was involved in conduct other than that charged in the indictment. The jury was instructed that this evidence was to be considered on the issues of defendant's intent, motive, and opportunity. The jury was instructed to determine whether defendant was involved in the uncharged conduct. As stated, the jury convicted defendant, and the trial court sentenced him to 27 years in prison.
¶ 10 ANALYSIS
¶ 11 Evidence of other crimes is admissible if it is relevant for any purpose other than to show the defendant's propensity to commit crime. People v. Wilson, 214 Ill.2d 127, 135 (2005). Other-crimes evidence is admissible to show modus operandi, intent, motive, identity, or absence of mistake with respect to the crime with which the defendant is charged. People v. Robinson, 167 Ill.2d 53, 62-63 (1995). However, even where relevant, the evidence should not be admitted if its probative value is substantially outweighed by its prejudicial effect. People v. Moss, 205 Ill.2d 139, 156 (2001).
¶ 12 The admissibility of evidence rests within the discretion of the trial court, and its decision will not be disturbed absent an abuse of that discretion. Pe ...